My favorite thing about living in the United States is getting to try food from the whole world.
Over the years, I have had the pleasure of experiencing holiday foods from all around the world. This holiday season, I encourage you to try out a new, maybe foreign, recipe. Perhaps you will find one you love that you can incorporate into your own future family traditions. For inspiration, here are some recipes gathered from close friends and family that I hope you can try and maybe even add to your holiday recipe book!
I first tried this delicious, sweet and sour drink at my friend Alesia’s who is from Jamaica.
Sorrel is a Caribbean drink made of Sorrel (dried Hibiscus) flower, ginger, orange peel, and warm spices, sweetened with sugar. It can be spiked with the addition of rum or red wine for a delicious adult version.
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups dried sorrel* (hibiscus)
- 2 inches fresh ginger, cut in rounds for a milder or grated for a stronger ginger flavor
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 allspice berries
- 3 star anise
- 6 cloves
- Peel of 1 orange
- 1 cup sugar or to taste
- Bring water to boil, add everything except the sugar, and simmer for 10 mins. Turn off the stove, add sugar, and stir to dissolve. Set it aside for at least 30 mins. Cool completely before drinking.
- Dilute with water or add rum or red wine. Enjoy over ice for a taste of Caribbean Christmas.
Pomegranate Chili Brussel Sprouts
Pomegranates are my favorite winter fruit. Growing up in Pakistan, we were blessed with delicious pomegranates, both red and white varieties. Needless to say, I try to add pomegranate to pretty much everything when they are in season.
In this recipe, I took inspiration from a Brussel sprouts dish I had in a Thai restaurant once and added my favorite flavors to make it more flavorful and festive.
- 1 lb Brussel sprouts
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 pomegranate, seeded
- ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Trim and cut Brussel sprouts in halves lengthwise.
- Whisk the olive oil, garlic, sriracha and pomegranate molasses in a medium to large bowl.
- Add the Brussel sprouts into the dressing, and toss to coat.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, and toss. Then, cook until they start browning, 5-10 more minutes.
- Add pomegranate seeds and slivered almonds, and toss to get everything mixed together. Enjoy!
The best turkey I have ever had to this date is my friend Rebecca’s Tandoori Turkey. Rebecca is from Pakistan, and she uses Pakistani & North Indian spices to give turkey a wonderful Tandoori flavor. I asked her for the recipe, and she graciously shared it with me.
- 18 oz jar of ghee or 2 sticks of butter
- 15 oz can of tomato puree
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 1 tbsp cayenne (or less if you want less spicy)
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- ½ tbsp coriander powder
- 2 tbsp garam masala*
- 1 tbsp turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Juice of two lemons
- Mix all the spices in ghee or melted and cooled butter. Rub all over the turkey, getting under the skin and in the cavity. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
- Take the turkey out of the fridge 2 hours before baking.
- At this point, you can use your favorite method of cooking the turkey or follow the directions below.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the turkey in a roasting pan, and bake for an hour. Baste, lower temp to 300°F, and bake for 4 hours or until the skin is browned and a thermometer inside the thigh reads 155°F.
- Cover the breast with foil, and bake for another hour.
- Let the turkey rest for an hour before cutting it.
Winter is a time for festivals all over the world. Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, usually falls in November. My mother-in-law makes this Indian sweet called magaz for Diwali, and both my kids devour it. It’s also naturally gluten-free so win-win!
- ⅓ cup ghee (clarified butter)
- 1 cup coarse chickpea flour* (Besan)
- ½ cup white granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- A pinch of saffron (optional)
- 2 tbsp sliced almonds for garnishing
- Grease a 9×9 tray with a little ghee or line with parchment paper.
- Heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan on medium-low heat.
- Once hot, add chickpea flour. Sauté it, stirring continuously until the flour becomes golden brown.
- This will take about 4-5 minutes. A nice aroma will arise from the toasted flour. Ghee will start to separate from the sides, and the flour will turn slightly brown in color.
- When done, turn off the stove.
- Add sugar. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, and saffron. Mix it well again.
- Spread the mix evenly in your tray, and top with sliced almonds.
- Let it cool for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Once the mix is cooled completely, cut in 2 inch squares with a sharp knife.
- Remove your Magaz gently, and take care not to break it. Enjoy!
*A quick note on where to find some speciality ingredients:
Sorrel: can be ordered from Amazon
Garam Masala: most grocery stores with other spices or Indian grocery stores
Besan (garbanzo flour): Amazon or Indian grocery stores
About the Author
Sabeen is a mom of two boys, Ari – 6 and Kai – 2. She moved to Carrollton in August 2017 from Austin. She has lived in Overland Park, KS, Scottsdale, AZ, and Lahore, Pakistan. She joined CECPTA in February 2018, is a part of Yellow and Red groups, and is serving on Board as the Outreach Chair this year. Before she became a mom, she was a middle school Special Education teacher. Some of her favorite things are cooking, baking cakes, watching Netflix with her husband of 12 years, listening to Bollywood music, drinking Pinot Noir, and traveling.